Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


2 Comments

Where’s The Fire?

This week I have experienced my first 46 degree (Celsius) day.  (I am in no hurry to experience another.)

On Thursday I was in Adelaide, and on Thursday Adelaide was officially the hottest city on earth.  It was so hot that as soon as I stepped outside my skin felt like it was burning, even in the shade. The hotel we stayed in became uncomfortable as the air conditioning struggled to cope with four consecutive days of over 40 degrees.

Extreme heat and a thirsty land are, of course, a recipe for bush fire in Australia, and, as of this morning, 100 bush fires were burning across South Australia and Victoria.  The smoke from the fires drifted over the beach where we were bathing, initiating many questions from our children.   As my husband and I tried to downplay the severity of the fires to them, internally we were wondering whether we’d even be able to get home, as the main road into Victoria had been closed by the authorities.

bushfire3

With all this talk of fire it has got me to thinking about the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost.  In the Bible the Holy Ghost is both symbolized by fire, and also directly referred to as fire.  In the Old Testament the pillar of fire which the Israelites followed in the wilderness was the Holy Ghost.  In the New Testament John the Baptist said of Jesus:

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” Matthew 3:11

And then in Acts 2:2-4 :

“. . . suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one set upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”

The thing about fire is that it is HOT.  It is intense.  All it takes is one little spark and a wild bushfire is ignited in a dry and thirsty land.

bushfire

Leonard Ravenhill said : “Again, the symbol of the church is fire…..The cross is no symbol of Christianity. The symbol of Christianity is the tongue of fire that sat on the head of each of them….Our God is a consuming fire.”

Oh and we are in a dry and thirsty land here in Australia.  Not just physically, but more so spiritually.  As I sat on the balcony of our accommodation each night this week, I wept for the people, for my country.  Yes, I could hear them drinking and laughing and singing drunken songs and I wept for them, for their state of barren-ness.  It is oh so dry.

We went into the city of Adelaide last night and there were two old men there, handing out tracts and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They’ve been there for 30 years.  One of them preached, standing there shaking, in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, and we helped them to hand out the tracts to passers-by, but hardly anyone took one.  As he preached, warning that there is an eternal hell, I could tell his heart was broken for this people, these people walking past him laughing at him, smiling with the smile of those in the presence of a fool.  Afterwards I commented on the hardness of people’s hearts and he answered sadly: “Oh aren’t they?  They don’t understand that the consequences are eternal.”

How dry! How barren and hard is the landscape here in Australia!

But also how ripe and ready this land is for fire….. After all – the drier the land, the easier a fire is kindled.  And a fire is powerful enough to change a landscape.  Australia is a land of fire; but may we become a land of Holy Ghost fire!

All it takes is one spark.  As followers of Jesus Christ, because He lives within us, we are to be that spark to a dry and barren world.  But we cannot be that spark if we are not full of the fire of the Holy Ghost.

Paul says to: “…. be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” Ephesians 5:18,19.  We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and fire.  This verse in the original actually says:  “Be being filled with the Spirit…”  It is a continual process. Like in the Pilgrim’s Progress, there needs to be oil constantly poured onto the fire to keep it burning, because, just as surely, the devil is always seeking to put it out.

I love Leviticus 6:12:  “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.” (Emphasis mine).  This verse is such a wonderful picture of what the life of the believer, of Christ’s church, should be.  No, it’s what we need to be.  We have a responsibility to this generation as the church of Jesus to carry this fire wherever we go.  If we don’t, who will?

bushfire 2

As priests we are to keep the fire burning.  God sends the divine fire, but it is our responsibility to keep it burning.  Just like a bushfire, once it has started it requires ongoing fuel.

I don’t know about you but I know when the fire is burning bright within me and I also know when it is burning low.  When I am full of the Spirit I walk in the supernatural – amazing things happen.  When the fire is low I find I am walking more in the flesh than the Spirit and the things of God become a struggle.

Wesley wrote a hymn, which goes like this:

    See how a great a flame aspires, kindled by a spark of grace.     Jesus love the nations fires; sets the kingdoms all ablaze.

To bring fire on earth He came, kindled in some hearts it is.     Oh that all might catch the flame; all partake the glorious bliss.

When He first the work began, small and feeble was its flame.     Now the word doeth swiftly run; now it wins its widening way.

More and more it spreads and grows, ever mighty to prevail.   Sin’s strongholds it now o’throws and shakes the trembling gates of hell.

Sons of God, your Savior praise; He the door hath opened wide.   He hath given the word of grace; Jesus’ word is glorified.

Saw you not the cloud arise, little as a human hand?   Now it spreads along the skies, hangs o’er all the thirsty land.

May you be inspired to be the spark of Holy Ghost fire in your land in this dry and thirsty generation!


3 Comments

Let God Arise

“LET GOD ARISE

Let His enemies be scattered”  Psalm 68:1

 

It is time for You to act O Lord,

Your law is being broken,

 

It is not time for a weak faith

that is shaken at every turn.

It is not time for our hands to hang down

And for our shoulders to shrug

“What can we do?”

 

NO

 

It is time to raise our heads

And our hands

It is time to “extol Him who rides on clouds

By His name YAH”

 

It is time for soldiers to rise up

Who will not shrink back

It is time to be as bold as a lion,

To take our courage by both hands.

It is time to advance

 

It is time to be filled with the Spirit

Of Almighty God.

 

It is time to trust Him

And have faith

That will not waver

Even in the face of a fearsome enemy

 

WHO WILL STAND?


2 Comments

The Prayer of a Minor Prophet

 thThe Covenant and prayer of a preacher:

(From AW Tozer)

This is the prayer of a man called to be a witness to the nations. This is what he said to his Lord on the day of his ordination. After the elders and ministers had prayed and laid their hands on him he withdrew to meet his Savior in the secret place and in the silence, farther in than his well-meaning brethren could take him.

And he said: O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

cross-on-hill

Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen

 


3 Comments

Jesus and the Feast of Tabernacles

IMG_2725On Saturday we went as a family to a local Messianic congregation to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  It was such a joyous occasion.  Our daughter loves it when we visit this congregation as she loves the Messianic dancing and is always involved.

Messianic dancing

Messianic dancing

At the Feast of Tabernacles, on the Great Day of this 8-day Feast, was a spectacular water drawing ceremony.  Water from the pool of Siloam gushed out and was offered to God as a drink offering.

Jesus attended this Feast and on the Great Day, as the water was gushing He cried out in the Temple:

“If anyone thirsts, let Him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!” (John 7:37-38)

IMG_2735

Can you imagine what the people must have thought?  Here was water gushing forth in a joyous celebration of this living-giving fluid.  In the Middle East in the first century water was not always easy to find and so it was symbolic of life and of God’s blessing.  There would have been a procession of people, singing and playing flutes.  And in the midst of this celebration here is Jesus standing in the Temple crying out for people to come to Him and drink.  He promised them mayim chayim – living water.

IMG_2728

So we see that the Feast of Tabernacles, as all of the Jewish Feasts, point to Christ.  In verse 39 John explains that :

“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy  Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Blessing the children

Blessing the children

We see that the water gushing forth is a picture of the Holy Spirit.  That the great truth played out by this Feast is that when we put our faith in Jesus and are baptized in His Holy Spirit, rivers of living water will flow from us.

May we all go to Jesus and drink of Him! And may rivers of living water flow from our hearts!

In the name of Yeshua, our Messiah, Amen

Shabbat meal

Shabbat meal


5 Comments

Holy Fire vs Profane Fire

” A fire shall always be burning on the altar, it shall never go out.” Leviticus 6:13

This verse jumped out at me the other day as I was reading that most mis-understood of books, Leviticus. I’d like to share with you what God brought to my heart.

Leviticus 6:8-13 is the record of the law of the burnt offering. This is Old Covenant stuff yes, but the principle presented here is eternal, and is recorded for our benefit.

God is here setting forth His commands to the priest, Aaron and his sons. All believers are now priests unto God under the New Covenant, so there is something here for us.

“And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, is shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings.” Leviticus 6:12

Two points here:
1. God requires that the fire on the altar never goes out
2. God requires that the priest shall keep the fire burning by bring wood every morning

Where does the fire come from? It is a divine fire, lit by God Himself.

“…Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” Leviticus 9:23, 24

The fire must be lit by God to be holy. God will never accept our self-effort, it is a “profane fire” to Him. The fire must be initiated by Him and comes from Him alone. We see on the Day of Pentecost the fire of God settling upon each of those in the Upper Room (Acts 2:3). This was fire sent by God, as John the Baptist had prophesied “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance but He who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11.

All of our fleshly works must be consumed. Look at what happened to Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu when they offered the “fire” of their own self-effort…

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” Leviticus 10:1, 2

So we see that God will never accept fire, or works, initiated by man. However God does require man to play his part too.
Whilst the fire is initiated by God, God gives the responsibility to maintain the fire to man. God will never do for us what He expects us to do ourselves. So He commands the priests to keep the fire burning, to not let it die out.

How do we keep it burning continually? Well God even tells us how to do that…
“And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning…” Leviticus 6:13
Praying and spending time with the Lord, in His Word daily keeps the fire burning.

“…and lay the burnt offering in order on it…” Leviticus 6:14. How?
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1

“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire.
Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.” Leonard Ravenhill

Be blessed!


5 Comments

Day-time Street Preaching

Misc 051

Yesterday morning I went into the city to street preach with two other women.

Every kind of opposition was thrown against us beforehand to try to stop us from going, including the fact that my five year old son came down with a severe case of croup on Monday night and was still sick yesterday.  Praise God for mothers though, mine looked after Tom while I went into the city.  I was reminded of CT Studd’s words: ” ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the Devil fears and hates”….

 

But we got there.  It was a completely different ballgame to open air preach during the daylight hours.  At night time there are a lot of homeless people, youth hanging out, as well as people going home from work and others out for the night.  During the day there were older people, there were high school students on excursions with their teachers, there were tourists and group outings.  I felt conspicuous setting up the PA on the little raised area at the front of the station.  During the day, there is nowhere to hide, no cover of darkness at all.  You are very much out there.

 

It was my friend W’s first time out on the streets.  She was a complete natural.  After the three of us prayed together she immediately started going over to the people sitting on the steps and handing out tracts.  I began to preach after a moment of panic wondering in my new PA was loud enough.  It was, as long as I held the mike pressed against my chin.

 

After a while I thought that it is easier preaching during the day because nobody screamed at me to “Shut up” or anything worse.  What a breeze. I saw people laughing and mocking of course but people were quite polite.  That is until I went over to a nicely dressed couple after I had preached, to talk to them and saw that the opposition was in fact there, bubbling away just as fierce, but hidden under a well-dressed facade.

 

“Your literalism is wrong,” he sneered at me, “everything you say is wrong.”

 

We talked for a little while.  it was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had.  I can honestly say I have rarely spoken to anyone who has been so bitter and angry.  And he used to be a pastor for 20 years.  Scary. As we parted, he still spitting venom at me, Holy Spirit gave me the words to say to him: “And yet, Jesus, knowing that you were going to reject Him, still died for you…”  He shook his head and walked away.

 

That was just one experience though.  We had a good time. The Word went out and seeds were sown through the preaching, conversations and hundreds of tracts that were handed out.  At one point as I was preaching, some high school students out on an excursion, gathered in front of me and listened, much to their teacher’s consternation.

 

I’d like to thank those who were praying for us.  I thank God for the Body of Christ.

 

As we left the city and were driving home, W said to me, “I feel my whole life was building up to this point.  I am a different person.”

 

The preaching of the Word not only changes others, it changes us.

Hallelujah.

 

 

 

 

 


4 Comments

How far are you willing to go?

The Holy Spirit showed me this one night in prayer and then I put it in a poem as best I could:

 

He waits for me

So joyful that I will follow

Follow the path of death

That leads to light

I need that light

To be full of that light

For then He says:

“These nail-pierced hands and feet

Are going into the darkness

I want you with Me

Will you come?”

Oh Lord, I just want to be with You

Where You are.

He says “There is much work to be done,

Come.”

We must redeem the time

For there’s not much left

 

We walk slowly

He could go ahead

But He waits for me

He steadies me when I stumble

He talks to me while we walk

I see that He really wants me there

With Him

Where He is

He says “The deeper we go into the darkness

The brighter your light will shine,

How far are you willing to go?”

(They plucked the beard

From His face)

How far are you willing to go?